1st Edition

Physics and Future of Hurricanes

By Edward L. Wolf Copyright 2023
    108 Pages 20 Color & 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Jenny Stanford Publishing

    108 Pages 20 Color & 10 B/W Illustrations
    by Jenny Stanford Publishing

    This monograph is about hurricanes, prompted by a discovery that suggests they will become more powerful with global warming. It provides, at a college physics level, a basic understanding of hurricanes emphasizing the flow of energy into and out of these storms and, as a textbook, covers some material that might be taught in meteorology or atmospheric physics courses. The text is centered on a new discovery that is not in any existing textbook. Because of the new discovery, the book is of immediate interest to all meteorologists.

    It turns out that hurricanes, as revealed by the new discovery, are usefully regarded as a separate phase of matter, bringing in characteristic temperature dependences near their transitions. The role of phase change in understanding hurricanes brings in the 20th-century discoveries in theoretical physics relating to critical phenomena with non-intuitive values of the critical exponent β entering the formula P = const (T – Tc)β, where P is a characteristic strength parameter, or order parameter, of the phase of matter appearing at Tc. According to the new discovery on hurricanes, it appears that taking the wind velocity as the order parameter P, the critical exponent is near 1/3. In a second discovery, we find that a small correction to this value is brought in by the complicated physics of the renormalization group, that earned K. G. Wilson the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1982.

    1. Introduction: A Physics-One Look at Hurricanes

    2. Introduction to the Tropical Atmosphere

    3. Deep Convection in Thunderstorms

    4. A Hurricane as a Ring of Thunderstorms

    5. Critical Aspects of Rainfall and Hurricanes

    6. Summary: Hurricanes as a Phase of Matter


    Edward L. Wolf is a researcher and author in several areas of physics. His background is in solid-state physics with emphasis on superconductivity and electron tunneling spectroscopy. Recently he has published on the properties of hurricanes, an important subject in atmospheric physics. Prof Wolf’s employment background includes private industry, government, and university professorship, with short visiting periods at the Cavendish Laboratory, IBM Research, and the University of Pennsylvania. His books include works on electron tunneling spectroscopy, materials and mechanisms of superconductivity, renewable energy, and the Josephson effect as well as several texts.